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902 ex-employees take Union Bank to court over N75.7 billion unremitted pension fund

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
31 December 2019   |   4:16 am
About 902 retired members of staff of Union Bank Plc. have instituted a suit against the bank before the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos...

About 902 retired members of staff of Union Bank Plc. have instituted a suit against the bank before the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos, for alleged non-remittance of their pension benefits worth over N76.7billion.

Two of the pensioners, Sanyaolu Sulaimon, and Mkpa Jacob, who filed the suit on behalf of themselves and the 900 others, claimed that the bank since 2008, failed to transfer the actual amount in their Legacy Pension Fund to their retirement savings accounts (RSAs) domiciled with their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).

The plaintiffs are therefore seeking an order of the court that the bank breached the provisions of the Pension Reforms Act 2004, and 2014, by failing to transfer the legacy pension funds to their respective PFAs.

They are also seeking an order compelling the bank to pay accrued sum of about N13.7 billion of the unpaid fund to the law firm of their counsel, Mr Monday Ubani (Ubani & Co), and another N2billion as general damages for delayed remittances and transfers, malicious intentions, illegal and unlawful withholding of pension funds.

In their depositions, the claimants stated that some of them whose pension funds were unjustly denied and refused are now deceased and have been unable to enjoy the retirement benefits.

The claimants therefore averred that the problem started after the National Pension Commission (Pencom) declined to give approval to Union Pension Scheme.

They further said that as a result of the defendant’s failure to meet the terms and conditions for the grant of Pension Funds Custodian Licence, and subsequent decline to grant the said licence, the bank then decided to discontinue the in-house pension scheme as allowed by law. It allowed the claimants and other members of staff of the defendant to choose their individual PFAs to which their future contributions will be transferred.

Claimants further averred that after their actuarial valuation was computed by H.R Nigeria Ltd., in 2008, the bank allegedly transferred only the fixed assets of the legacy funds to the two PFAs – Premium Pensions, and AIICO Pensions, while holding back the liquid assets of the legacy pension.

They averred that from the expiration of the said Pension Reforms Act of 2004 window in July 2007, only the mandatory monthly contributions contributed by both the claimants and the bank under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), were fully remitted to PFAs.

They further claimed that the defendant finally stopped the operation of the in-house pension scheme in January 2013, based on misrepresented pretence that the full and final legacy pension funds of the claimants had been transferred to their respective PFAs, while it was not so.

No date has been fixed for hearing, as the defendant is yet to file defence despite being served with the court processes.